Religious and Secular Global Dialogue

– Good afternoon and welcome everybody to a new episode in our series ongoing series of conversations on global, religious and secular dynamics. My name is Jose Casanova and I’m a senior fellow at the Berkeley Center for Religion Peace and World Affairs which sponsors this event.

The event is also being sponsored by Reset DOC USA DOC stands for dialogue of civilizations. We are very fortunate to have today for the discussion on religious and secular global dialogue, Dr. Professor Azza Karam. Probably the person most qualified to lead this conversation. Thank you for being with us Azza today.

Our webinar is being recorded and eventually, very soon will be posted on the Berkeley Center website and you will be able to access it. It’s our routine we’ll have a conversation about 50, 55 minutes with Azza. And then we’ll have a question and answer section to which you can place questions

And we’ll have as many answers as possible. At the bottom of your screen, you will see a question and answer image. Please open it if you want to write questions for Professor Karam. So let’s start. Welcome Azza. Thank you, thank you very much for being with us.

– Thank you very, very much for having me, Jose. – Let’s begin with just setting the stage. In our contemporary global aids, we are becoming increasingly aware of the need to come to terms with two different kinds of pluralism. Secular and religious pluralism and multi religious pluralism

And the need both for dialogue and cooperation within these pluralisms. In the first part of our conversation today, we will examine some of the dynamics of the religious secular pluralism corporation and dialogue through your work for many years in the United Nations, actually leading this dialogue. In the second part of our conversation,

We will explore some of the dynamics of multi religious pluralism and inter-religious dialogue through your work as secretary general of Religions for Peace International. So can we start. – Absolutely. – So let’s begin with the United nations. Historically, the United Nations we know is the symbolic representation

Of the Westphalian global system of nation states, which actually started after the peace of Westphalia with the notion to leave religion out of international politics. The rate that a pioneer of international law had the famous sentence that international law and the international system should function As if God would not exist. Now in the last 50 years, we’ve seen that these separation is not easy to maintain. Religion has entered in many ways, the United Nations and the United nations through its work around the work on development first step on the feet and the field of religion

Throughout the world. You have been both a privilege observer and participant of these confrontations, tensions and dialogue is in your function as senior advisor for culture in social development at the UN population Fund. And this coordinator chair of the UN inter-agency task force, and engaging faith based organizations

For development at the United Nations. So I would like you to start in any way you want to tell us what have you observed? What has happened to these confrontation dialogue in the last 20, 30 years, while you’ve been at the center of it? – Well, first of all,

Thank you again for this opportunity, Jose, and I’m not letting it get away with the fact that I have to highlight, which is that you’re a mentor to me and many others in this space. So I am extraordinarily delighted that I had the opportunity to have this conversation with my mentor.

I learned a lot from what you have been writing over the years. It was extremely helpful for me to be able to juxtapose the learning into this United Nations hemisphere. I joined the UN after I already actually has been working for Religions for Peace for some years.

And then I joined the United Nations Development Program. So I have come from this deeply inter religious space with all its political and cultural and social nuances straight into it, I felt like I had gone from a very warm fire place next to a fireplace straight into a freezer.

– From hell to somewhere. – It wasn’t by no means hell. It was an incredible learning experience to work with so many religious institutions around the world. It was a certain kind of warmth and a certain kind of cynicism as well which I’ll get to in a second.

But I think going from that space of relational dynamics, which are very, very personal actually, ’cause when you work in an ultra religious space, you per definition and have to work with your emotions and your feelings and what you believe, it’s your right. It’s all about what you believe

And how you do this work and so on. So to go from there into the United Nations Development Program and to be told within the first week, even though it was working in the Arab Bureau, and as far as I know, the Arab region is where all three major monotheistic traditions emerged.

So we’ve never kind of gone into that secular space at all in the Middle Eastern context. And so to go into this United Nations Development Program regional Bureau of Arab States and be told within the first week, we don’t do religion was literally like being thrown into Siberia. What do you mean?

So how do we do? If we don’t do religion in an Arab context where we’re supposed to be, I was working on the Arab of human development report as a coordinator and I thought, well, how are we even addressing some of these issues of governance, human rights, democratization, the whole women’s rights.

How do are we doing all this without doing religion? So that was my first cultural shock in the UN system. And I realized very, very quickly that there is, it’s not because of a, it’s almost a willful determination not to engage the religious space. So I think now that you’ve described

That particular motto in Latin, I think the United Nations system honors that motto till this minute, till this day. And to be honest with you, I think it has to. It doesn’t have to ignore God, or pretend God isn’t there, but it does need to be very fiercely protective

Of the secular space because you have 193 governments and heaven knows it’s difficult enough to work with 193 governments. Bringing religion into this equation, in addition to all the nationalisms that are already there. In addition to all the territorial, economic, financial issues that have to be dealt with,

Bringing the religious into this mix is not necessarily immediately helpful into this space. And I’ll belabor that in a second, but I think one of the first things that therefore after trying to overcome the cultural shock and trying to understand why. Why do you not need to, do you not do religion?

I realized that a great part of it had to do with the origin of this particular developmental space inside the United Nations system. And remember, United Nations is a massive universe. It’s a big entity with so many different sub solar planets. You’ve got the World Health Organization

Is part of the United Nations system. The World Bank is part of the United Nations system. Then there’s all these different development groups and agencies in that system and then there’s the secretary. So it’s a big universe. And the idea was that the origin of the development thinking and community that United Nations

Development program symbolized, it was coming out of the liberation struggles with the 1960s South Africa and the apartheid, the Palestinian-Israeli dynamic. It was coming out of that era and it had emerged in that. It had merged to form. There were two different entities that merged to form UNDP in that era.

It was coming from that ethos of the liberation movements, none of which in the 50s and 60s had the been particularly religious by the way. So that legacy of activism, of service in a space that was about coming together and building and solidarity and stuff like that, was not articulated

With a religious lens in the 50s and 60s. It was still the height of the secular, solidarity and nationalism based on shared identities that are not religious in that moment. So this is the origin of the UNDP space. And therefore, the idea that you would, and also remember that the emergence

Of a very powerful global feminist movement that was coming together, which for very good reasons, was deeply skeptical about the religious institutions and the religious discourse that wasn’t necessarily renowned for its feminist agenda in any way, shape or form. So this hybrid mix of the origin of the UNDP

And much of the UN development space explains why there was in a way, at best a sense of ignorance of the religious space and dynamics. And at worst, quite frankly, a sense of fear and mistrust that we all and remember heavily influenced by governments member states who not all of whom

Were comfortable with religion, themselves. Many of whom had had invested significantly in putting the religious space in its size. Rightsizing the religious space into not too much public involvement. Very limited kind of public involvement. So you have that from your board. Your board is the governments and the governments been doing their best

To try to be very limiting in terms of how much religion and religious institutions play the role in the public space. And at the same time, your own emergence out of a nationalist liberation struggles and feminist struggles, which were deeply which at best just didn’t see religion

As a very valid space, even with liberation theology in Latin America and that space. It was still a secular ethos that came to that table. So I understood that therefore, the issue was our particular glasses inside the UN system were colored by that vision of mistrust,

Fear and frankly, ignorance of the religious space, because there’s a certain arrogance that comes to being in a global system. There’s a certain arrogance that comes with that. By the way, some religious institutions have it too and that particular arrogance in a global space assumes that because we’re so big,

Because we do so much, because we answer to all different needs or we’re supposed to, because we deal with all these esteemed governments at the highest possible level, et cetera, we know it all, we’ve got this. So what is it that the religious can support or provide?

So I realized that if we were going to try to engage with the religious sectors, writ large, who are much bigger together, much bigger than the world of United Nations at its height. But if we were going to engage with that sector, with those different sectors, the multitude,

We had to begin to humanize them, literally. To realize that it’s not just men in robes that we’re talking about who have a particular universalistic discourse about human rights. Either it’s all good like liberation theology, supposedly, or it’s all bad, like certain religious discourses about Whitman for instance. It’s not like that.

There’s a wealth of being and a wealth of institutional discursive narrative realities to religious communities, religious leaders. And so we started by trying to humanize meaning, deliberately inviting our religious, non governmental organization colleagues. And the focus was very deliberate on the NGOs, the religious NGOs, inviting them to the different tables

That we were hosting in the UN. Different seminars about this and this and that issue, different policy discussions, different research oriented discussions. And I worked a lot at that time also with the social science research council, and so I was happy to hear Greg Calhoun had that conversation with you.

The social science research council was one of the first people I reached out to, to say, okay, let’s begin to host these consultations. And you may recall Jose, you were at a pretty good number of them actually in New York and elsewhere. But the idea was, can you please sit as UN officials

Responsible for the policy, for the programs and speak to your peers in these NGO and academic communities who are the religious, they’re also religious folks. They’re not wearing the regalia of religious leadership, but they are very much engaged in this religious space. So I deliberately made a point of saying,

Okay, we have to speak. We have to have a conversation and engage with these religious actors. Show the other side of the religious actors, not just the religious leaders in their institutions which is what everybody saw all the time, but show those who are working in exactly the same development and humanitarian spaces

As the UN actors working with very similar modus operandi, you have your strategic plans and you have your audits and you have your program indicate that you all, all that Tamasha was there in a religious NGO. And invite as many of them to the table as possible.

So there was a conversation between us about our common work, what we were doing together, and therein began what later, what we refer to as the strategic learning exchanges between the, if you will, the secular policy guys inside the UN system, the officials and the religious policy and NGO guys in that space.

So I think that became very instrumental because it literally puts a face to this idea of religion and it puts a very deliberately put a different face than the religious leaders in the religious garb. So some of them were religious leaders. Some of those CEOs and program advisors and policy advisors

Inside the religious NGO space for ordained leaders, but they were serving inside this development and humanitarian space. So the emphasis was to come at it from let’s meet as common folks working in this policy in developmental and humanitarian space within institutions that are actually pretty alike

So we can have a common table and not, and very, the emphasis was also on, we’re all here as peers. So I understand that we are extraordinarily hierarchical within the religious world. We’re extraordinary hierarchical within the policy world of the UN. But you know what, we’re all here. This table, we’re all equals.

We’re all peers. Let’s have a conversation based on the issues, how we do them, why we do them. What makes your work different than mine? Why is your work has, why does your work have any value added as a religious NGO? What is it that’s so special

About what you do as a religious NGO? What is it that’s so special about the humanity? – Yes, but listening to you, I would assume that there was also dynamics of recognition, precisely of equality that created tensions between the new cameras and the old religions that claim to be dead to religion.

It was easier for certain new religious groups to try to lobby the UN openly than perhaps the old religions that prefer not to enter into a table as equals, but to have core priorities kind of influence. – That was of part of what happened in the very beginning of those conversations.

Because remember that the, if you will, the learning that was taking place, the deconstruction and reconstruction that was taking place on what’s happening on all sides. On our UN side, it was also happening within the religious side. So the religions leaders and actors who came to these tables

Were also transformed with time as were we as UN staff and policy folks. We were also transformed through that encounter. It was mutually transformative, and each came to the table with their particular perspectives on particular worldviews. Here’s why we think our work is so fine. And so one of the conversations that started

In that beginning of those strategic planning exchanges was what I called the claim to exceptionalism that actually both sides had. So you were sitting as a UN person and you think that the UN is an absolutely exceptional space, which of course it is. Of course it is.

In many ways it’s an exceptional space, but then you have the religious actors, these heads of religious NGOs, the policy and program people in different religious NGOs who also would come, especially the ordained ones among them who would also come and say, we’re not just regular civil society.

This isn’t just regular civil society. We’re special in so many words, it wasn’t of course said like that, but this is a special community here. You’re not just dealing with any NGO which the UN has a big history of working with by the way.

But so the conversation was not, but we’re not just that. I mean, we are definitely, but we’re not just that. So eventually the pushback had to be within the UN ecosphere, we don’t have a category for exceptional. We shouldn’t have a category for special and exceptional. It’s governmental, non-governmental and inter-governmental

And obviously in the non-governmental, that’s the field that includes all of different civil society actors. So yes, we understand that there’s a special claim because of a special relationship supposedly in the mission statement that isn’t necessarily inspired with the universal declaration of human rights in any way, shape or form,

But it’s actually inspired by God said, and the prophet did. And so yes, there’s different in that. – So this is one side of the story. Namely, the UN and you particular inviting religious groups as nongovernmental organizations would take part in this table of equals with other nongovernmental organizations

To hear precisely with all common issues of development, human rights, health, education, et cetera. The other side of the story is the United Nations going into the war and becoming involved in development at the civil society level, not anymore on the intergovernmental relations, but more and more realizing that the UN

Has to becoming both really grassroots organization for development, health, education, women’s. And of course then it’s not only that their religion is embodied, but now the United Nations begins to step on their feet as it were and the feel of religious communities. So there is the other element of it.

The UN is not only an agency in New York, but also mobilizes (indistinct) across the world and the more it goes into civil society, the more even countries religious groups. – So one of the first things that we did after we started doing these strategic cleaning exchanges

By bringing our peers in the religious sectors, humanitarian and development to the table, one of the first things that each of the different UN agencies started to do, and this was now thanks to actually setting up a space inside the UN system, an inter-agency task force

That at that time, the heyday of the UN reform agenda was delivering as one. We all have to come to this. We’re so big, we’re so many. We had to come together and deliver at country level at least, and hopefully a global level, but at least the country level,

We had to work as one entity. So you don’t have the UNICEF, UNDP, but you actually come together as a country team, at least the development guys and serve and deliver as one. So part of the way of doing that was to say, let’s have inter-agency modalities, mechanisms.

So sure enough, we established an inter-agency modality on religious engagement, on engaging with religious actors and for the longest amount of time, that was the inter-agency mechanism that nobody would hear about. It’s just, it was so down low on the priority of all the inter-agency stuff. Funding and resource mobilization and gender equality,

All good and religion. So it took a while to actually give status to that particular inter-agency mechanism. And it’s one of the few that still continues until today, because of course the system has changed multiple times since with different leadership in the UN. So the inter-agency mechanism,

Not necessarily the most popular thing these days, but the inter-agency task force on religion continues and is working. And it’s grown in fact. – Thanks to you. Thanks to you. – Many, many colleagues in the system, but one of the things we learned, Jose, was let’s do our own homework.

Let’s find out whether this business of working with religious actors is indeed such a novelty as Rome and New York and Geneva would help us believe. Why are we doing this? Why are we doing this? So I said, let’s look at what are our country, especially the operational entities

Who do development and humanitarian work. We have country presence. We have offices in countries. Let’s just begin to see, have we worked with them? Have we done research with these people? Have we indeed partner and guess what, Jose, we realized that not a single UN entity with a humanitarian

Or development mandate, not a single one had not engaged at one point or time or another over the last 50 years with certain kinds of religious actors, none. But the issue wasn’t so much that engaging issue was A, do you actually systematize that engagement? Do you actually realize

That this is part of your civil outreach, civil society outreach? Does Rome or Geneva or New York know the outcome of this, that you’re actually having this program and the outcome of it and some of the learnings? No. So the issue was we learned within the UN system,

We learned about our own legacy and history of engagement and started to rediscover it at the same time, by the way that our religious counterparts, our partners were beginning to rediscover why they do work the way they do. What is it about the Christian tradition that actually, so they were rediscovering

Their religious roots because they had existed for so long as partners of the multilateral world in their secular NGO hat. So they were religiously inspired. They were faith-based, NGOs, faith inspired and based NGOs but they weren’t using the religious language. They were busy doing the work and trying to, in a sense,

Not necessarily acknowledge the religious identity so much. So as our religious counterparts were rediscovering their here’s the biblical narrative that inspires this particular kind of engagement on children or on women or on refugees. And here’s the Islamic texts that actually inspires why we do. They were rediscovering their religious discourse

And the roots of their passion and mission while we were rediscovering the basic reality of the fact that we had been working with these actors for a very long time. So that transition happened, and that was extremely important for us to learn about heritage, if you will, on both sides

And use some very basic data that till this moment is still deeply contested. How can you work in this space of education and or health and or nutrition and or sanitation and or refugees? How can you work in any of these areas and not engage with those

Who are the original providers of service in those spaces? No, there’s no way you can do it. We had to come up with the data. So our World Bank colleagues then undertook in that inter-agency space, they brought to it some of the data of their engagement and legacy

And that’s how we learned so much from people like Katherine Marshall, who had been setting up this space and leading it inside the World Bank for so many years. They came to this inter-agency space with their data and their evidence of here’s how we have been working with these different actors.

Largely we discovered in the space of health, the most amount of engagement that happened in that health space. So that’s how we began to learn about ourselves, quite frankly. – And of course our dear Katherine Marshall which is my colleague at the Berkeley Center those are types of some of the conversations

Before we move to the second part on the Religions for Peace, obviously the most contested issue in all these fields has been the issue of gender. And this is the issue at the center of precisely UNDP, population, reproductive health, women’s rights. Since Cairo, the 94 conference in Cairo,

Sine Beijing in 95, this has gone in different directions. Obviously first it was apparently the Catholic church and the Muslim world. Now, lately is the evangelicals. American evangelicals in the Russian Orthodox Church and the Moscow party arcade against feminism and gender equality. How have you been able to navigate all these tensions

And what do you see has happened in this field in the last 20 years, both positive and negative? – So it’s important to highlight a very interesting couple of realities that you come across when you’re actually working in this space. So the first reality is that it turns out

That the United Nations population fund. I remember I joined UNCP first, then I moved to UNFP. I realized that the United Nations population fund was actually one of those entities in the UN system that had the longest legacy of partnering with religious organizations. And that wouldn’t necessarily be intuitive.

That was actually kind of counter intuitive because their agenda is reproductive health, which is sexuality and sexual relations. So how come this was the UN entity with a very long track record, actually. One of the longest track records of engaging with religious actors at country level.

It turns out that, of course you can’t do this work. You can’t speak these issues in a country if you have not already managed to have a few partners in the religious space who at best, at best will work with you, will actually work with you on some of these issues.

But even when it’s things are really not going very well, Jose, at least they’re not going to condemn your work. They’re not going to stand in direct opposition to your work, which is a big deal, which is, cause sometimes you won’t be able

To work with people, but at least don’t close the doors that I can actually work in, so to speak. So we realize that the agency that has sexual reproductive health and rights as its key mandate is the agency with one of the longest track records of actually working in partnering with religious actors.

We also realized something else, that as we expanded the circle of partners in this religious engagement space, there were basically two blocks. There was two different blocks happening. One block was the, for lack of a better word, the much more conservative oriented religious institutions who were working with governments

With certain governments, very, very well. And so therefore in many ways were much more powerful inside the UN space because they had some governments with them behind them. – Mainly Catholic countries, Muslim countries. – It started with the Catholic countries. – And America and after Cairo, right?

I think in also Muslim countries and yeah. – Yes, over the years, but interesting because it’s not necessarily a coincidence. As the voices of, for lack of a better word, the pro human rights, pro sexual and reproductive health and rights atmosphere, just the broader pro human rights openly,

No discrimination, no cherry picking between them. As that religious space expanded thanks to the efforts of inviting a broad swath of people around the table regularly so that it became normal to speak and see, and witness and have conversations that included their leaders. As that space was increasing, Jose the number of partners

On the more conservative side of the religious spectrum was also increasing. The voices were increasing and the quality and nature. So it became not only a Catholic voice. It became a Catholic, Orthodox, evangelical, Muslim. And in the last few years, also a Hindu supported or tacitly supporting voice.

So the range of, I wouldn’t say it’s very hard to categorize this way, by the way and I’m not sure that could do that officially on the parts of religions for me. So I’m not speaking as Religions for Peace now, but really as a scholar of religion and development.

I can tell you that the, for lack of a better word, the more conservative voices around the issues of sexual reproductive health and rights in particular, those have expanded and grown over the years, and so have the counterparts on the other side, who were speaking for sexual reproductive health and rights,

They have also expanded so that they’re not just Christian or Muslim, but they have actually expanded and grown together. And a large part of this on the one side, the expansion of the conservative multi-religious discourse has happened thanks to, as I said earlier, the collaboration with certain governance.

The absolute green light given by certain governments because it served the purpose to say, well, this is against our religion. We’re not going to do this particular set of rights because it’s against the norms and whatever, whatever. But the other group, the other group that was trying to inspire a conversation

That all human rights were interconnected, no set of rights is more significant than the other. None can be realized at the expense of each other or the silencing of some of them. That group also grew deliberately thanks to the deliberate effort of the UN system actors in country at regional and global levels

To provide also a space for those voices to be heard at the table. And they also were very multi-religious. They were also Catholic and different kinds of Protestant Evangelical and whatever, and Muslim and Hindu and Buddhist. And so in a way we kind of,

If I look at it from a less concerned perspective, I can tell you that the expansion of the multi-religious narratives in and of itself has been in a source of affirmation for why it is important to be in this. How can we speak about strong civic societies

If we don’t have a vibrant multi-religious space and narrative as part of that civil society? So yes, the UN system has, since the 1970s very deliberately reached out to the civil society. I would say that over the last 20 years, it’s expanded. Now, where does the Religions for Peace

Institutional representation feature in this space? I can give you a very simple example based on the years of working inside and outside of the system. There’s a very different dynamic that happens Jose, when you invite the Catholics together, the different Protestants together, ecumenical, Muslim, and each gets convened in their own spaces.

This is incredibly valuable, extremely helpful, and also can have its limitations. What I have observed happening systematically over the last 30 years, whether I was in the Middle East or in Central Asia or in Europe, or here is that when you bring the different religions

And religious voices together around a common set of issues, human rights, education, children, environment, something very amazing happens. And I personally call it grace, to be honest with you. I just call it plain as it is. As I see it as I feel it, it is grace.

When these different religions come together, Jose, yes, day one, everyone is speaking to their particular text interpretation that here’s my official position, my institutional position. The conversation goes on, Jose. And by day two, they are speaking as people, as human beings with deep, deep hearts that are committed to serving. There’s a dynamic,

There’s an incredible change in the conversation. It doesn’t become, what is your institutional position? How can that be defended? It becomes, how can I serve these needs best? And there’s an actually an element of competition that creeps in. It’s very constructive competition. It’s very progressive competition. It’s competition about who’s serving most

And that is precisely when grace takes place, because you suddenly realize that not everybody’s hung on to their particular interpretation, their particular texts and their particular narrative, but they’re actually, and they look, they see each other speaking about the divine in so many different ways, but a divine that is of humanity,

Of service, of love, of saving lives. It’s a totally different caliber of conversation, but it has to be stewarded. It has to be intentionally convened. It has to be about very practical situations with very hard evidence and facts. Then the narrative changes

From here’s what my God says has to happen, or you’re a God to how can we serve this? How can we serve this best? I saw this happening in the Arab region and I saw this happening in the African region and the Latin America. So I think this is the key,

And this is why Religions for Peace has such a critical role to play in transforming the dynamics of inter-religious civic conversations about everything, about governance, democracy, and human rights about gender equality, about environmental sustainability, about inter-religious education, about learning education. How do we learn and how do we get through years of postgraduate

Without knowing a thing about our faith respective data? So when you convene religions together, there is a dynamic that happens that is absolutely phenomenal, and it is a must. It is no longer a luxury for us. It is a must in a context where we have lost the diplomatic space.

There is no diplomacy as we know it today. There’s a lot of voices out there from the top most political leadership to the governance and civil society entity and actors. There’s a lot of voices out there, Jose, but I think we’ve lost the art of diplomacy as in tactfulness to reach one another

And to relate to one another. We speak at, we don’t speak with. So in this conversation, in this context, the multi-religious narrative is providing us with resources, opportunities, language in which we can reinvent our diplomacy to be what it was meant to be. The coming together, to heal together the entire universe,

Not just our respective vested interests, but each one coming at it from their vested interest, for sure. But when we come at it together from within this multi-religious space to be added to the civic space, the secular civic space benefits, the multi religious space means that per definition,

No one religion can claim an exclusive right to truth. One of our problem. – And this is of course is the central issue because there is a very strong Christian European cognitive tradition of arguing that inter-religious dialogue is a continuity of theological dialogue who has the truth. And of course you get nowhere.

Dialogue has to begin with interpersonal recognition as you say, it’s kind of a space where persons recognize each other as persons, and then everything else can come later. Perhaps you don’t need to get into the actual theological controversies, if you can work together on many, many fields.

– And that is proven that actually working together has and is a space of serving together, which is why religious repeats created its multi-religious humanitarian funds because we realized, all of us are running to serve. The religious communities today and in the face of COVID or at the forefront

Of serving the needs of their communities on every possible level. But guess what? Each one is going about it in their own institutional way. So when we talk social cohesion, we have to act social cohesion. The pandemic is a moment that forces us to work together.

How can we encourage this serving together in that space? And this is what made the change and I just got the note from Catherine, if I may refer to it. When we convened the different religious actors together across who are serving the NGOs now, not just the religious institutions,

But the NGOs who are delivering humanitarian and development. And we convene them around what? Around sexual reproductive health and rights after years of begging them together to come and talk about the common, the safety issues. Children, environment, all the safe stuff. Death, things that we can all talk about

Without getting too worried about what God actually meant when he was saying this or that. One of the things we realized is that even in that space of deep contention, the religious leaders and the actors in the NGO system were prepared to say that some of the harm that is happening

In the name of serving this religious purpose, early child marriage, female genital mutilation, rape, violence against boys and girls, that none of this could possibly be and should never be in their own name as a religious person, as a religious leader, not in my name was the mantra or the statement

That they all actually signed down to. Because yes, we understand that there are certain interpretations and understandings, but the harm that gets done in the name of religion. No, there’s a rejection to that. Not in my name was a very video key tipping point in this conversation between the different religious actors.

They can agree together that harm is not in the name of their respective traditions and therefore not in the name of all of them. Already that agreement may seem minor given everything that’s going on around us, but it’s not minor. If I agree with you and we’re both coming

From different theological perspectives and traditions. If I agree with you that that harm is not in our name, is not in the name of my faith, that is massive. That’s an act of faith. That’s a statement of solidarity. That’s a move towards transforming social norms and behaviors in a radical way.

And that’s what is possible when you bring the different religions together with the different civic actors. – So I was of course, extremely happy when I learned that Religions for Peace have elected a woman as its secretary general. I know you and I knew that you were extremely, especially qualified for this role.

But I can imagine that we know that patriarchal legacies for religious traditions. And so kind of frankly, how difficult it is for you to deal with the clerical leadership of all the religious traditions and how do these institutions deal with Religion for Peace? What is the relationship between these very unique

Place or space where religious can come together, precisely work together and the religious institutions themselves, which each of them wants to maintain, its privileges, authorities, it’s places. – So I learned something very valuable from the executive directors, women executive directors in UNFPA because they were handling such a sensitive,

Hot potato set of issues all the time. And they’re dealing with, yes, of course, female leaders, but also peers who are male leaders in the political establishment. So it’s not exactly the easiest walk in the park, either. One of the things I learned from them, especially

Another mentor of mine, Dr. Threa Albeit from Saudi Arabia. One of the things she told me many years ago was first of all, you have to find allies in this space who come from precisely the camp of detractors. And you have to just put your head down

And keep working and look on the bright side of things. And so the first thing that struck me about being elected to serve in this position, to be perfectly honest with you and I have been on record for saying this repeatedly is it’s not about me. Honestly, yes okay.

Thank you very much for that acknowledgement, but it isn’t about me. The election of me, of this woman is a testament to the religious leaders who came together and agreed that it would be a woman who would lead them in their effort to who would serve them in their effort to work collaboratively

In an institution that’s 50 years old with 90 different chapters around the world. They agreed, Jose to accept this leadership of a woman. To me, that is the most important moment of amazement, quite frankly and it’s such a testament to the courage of these individual leaders

And to the readiness, quite frankly of their institutions to say, okay, okay. – You will call it grace. – I do, actually. I didn’t want to say the word again, but yes I do actually. I really do. And I think that this, there is grace everywhere we step.

I am a firm believer in that. We don’t exist, but for the grace of the love of the divine. So, but yes, there are so many moments of grace. Definitely, definitely knowing that they had elected me and entering into that big hall during the 10th world assembly of Religions for Peace

In Lindo, which was hosted, thanks to a secular German government working with a wonderful organization and foundation called Lindo. Walking into that hall of 900 delegates who many of whom were cheering and they did no me, Jose. They didn’t know me. They were cheering of the fact that this organization

Of 50 years is electing a woman. And here she is that little thing walking into the hall and that is grace because I felt very tangibly the aspiration to formation, to coming together, to serving grace, not just epitomizing, but serving grace. That was a moment. Why would they otherwise? Why that incredible anticipation

And all elation and joy when they didn’t know me? Many of them didn’t know me. So I think there’s something to be said for that moment we are living in. We can choose, Jose to focus on all the negativity that’s happening around us in terms of leadership that is much more violent

In its narratives and actions, or we can choose to see what’s actually unfolding in the multi-religious space globally, that at least I can see. And in the civil society spaces, because I firmly believe that our salvation is humanity and the salvation of this earth is going to happen

When the civil society is vibrant. Governments are fine. We need them, they’re necessary. Multilateral entities are needed more than ever, but multilateral entities and governments need civil society and civil society needs the multi religious space. It’s not possible to exist with only one hand. You’ll do certain things with one hand,

You do much, but when you have both hands and to me, that’s the secular and the religious and where they meet, that is when we can move. Grace. – And I myself would say the most important lesson for me is the recognition of the irremediable plurality, cultural religious of the human condition.

And we simply, this is the point of the part of our global aids, mutual recognition. And this is a dynamic which is different from the dynamic of capitalism, one single system. From dynamic of the nation states. It is this at this level of a global civil society, where, what I call global denominationalism

This process of mutual recognition of all the not only religious, I’m talking of all the groups that want to claim, this is my name. This is what I stand for and I want to be recognized like that and I recognize you also in return. And obviously I would say this is essential

For working together, any global issue, whether refugees, social justice, these environmental issues and to which extent we see that some of the most important voices and those issues come precisely from religious leaders, which are free from what other wars are the constraint of nationalism. Making America great again,

And saving the vaccines for our nation. This vision, global human vision, but not as one of power to say my religion is the one, but really of mutual recognition. And this is a unique moment we find ourselves. And I’m very glad that you are actually leading this organization at this very, very moment.

I want to remind the audience that we will be moving very soon to our question and answer period, that you’ll have a chance put down in writing in the question and answer box, the question you would like to raise for Professor Karam. I call her professor because besides all these roles,

She’s also social professor of religious studies at Free University in Amsterdam. So before we go to the question and answer, I would like simply to yes, any thoughts about any issue that you think are really, really big issues that you are facing as a secretary general,

The issues that you see is the ones which are both most problematic, but also most necessary to face in the series of challenges we are facing as global humanity. – Thank you for allowing me that. I think there’s a couple of points I wanted to share

If I may and one of them has to do with what you were very rightly pointing out is an absolute necessity of that civic space and the plurality of it, that per definition, the plurality gets us those opportunities to grow and be better people, quite frankly. I always say that I’m a believer

And if God wanted us all to be alike, I don’t think it would have been much of a problem for him to create this all alike, quite frankly. – Sounds like Mohammed in the Quran. – It sounds like different, all the different faith traditions.

Divinity is power and the divine is capable of everything. And so how do we all meant to be, had we all been meant as equal and the same people, then it would not have been so difficult for the creator to do so. The fact that we are created diverse in so many ways

Is a testament to the divine. It’s not about, oh dear. It’s actually a testament to the divinity. It’s also what we have to aspire to respect in one another, that incredible diversity that we embody. One of the things that I’m seeing COVID force us to do though,

We are as a result of what I would call the failure of global meta narratives to actually serve anymore. And the increase in isolated discourses based on very limited narrow self-interests of certain political communities or nationalist ideologies. Because we’re in this era of we don’t have something

That mobilizes all of us at the same time, unless it’s the Black Lives Matter gave us a spark to believe in something that is beyond the interests of any particular, but it’s actually very inclusive of the interests of many towards justice. But we are facing that moment of crisis globally

In terms of meta narratives that can inspire and get people to actually come together in different ways. Because of this, I think religions are, and religious discourse is being exploited, left, right and center by politicians who are religious and politicians who are not religious. There are very odd alliances that are taking place

And flowering around the world, that are consolidating around the world about, and between the political and the religious spaces. Not all of it is good. Not all of it is built on welfare rights for all irrespective of where they come from and what they look like.

And therefore, I think that we stand at a precipice to be honest as, as human beings. And that precipice is if we can join hands together with our faith as a deep form of inspiration, but also without, but just as out of a commitment to all, if we can do that,

We can actually jump over that precipice to the other side. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of religious division that I’m seeing happening between intra and inter-religious and ironically, COVID has brought so much of those religions to the fore. And that’s one of the reasons why I think that the idea of multi-religious collaboration

Is not a luxury, can not afford to be treated as a luxury, but has to become a priority, socially, politically, financially, economically. Multi-religious civic stakeholdership and collaboration has to be the way to go. Otherwise we are looking at very deep, more deep rifts being created between different communities in the name of it.

– Thank you very much. We could go on and on for back to the United Nations, there are so many different issues, but I thank you very much for these very open and candid conversation. Let’s open up the question and answer. Our first question comes from our very, very dear friend,

Katherine Marshall, who asks Azza can you tell the story of the not in my name event and comment on the role of Raya Obeid, who will be speaking at the G-20 interfaith event? – I think I already did that actually. I spoke about the, not in my name event

When the religious actors came together and signed on to the fact that they will accept no harm in the name of their respective traditions, and they will do another. And I spoke about the legacy of Dr. Obeid in terms of developing this work and giving me the guidance

As to how to approach some of this work in this space. – I just want to give you the opportunity to expand on it, if you wanted to say something, but then we can move to the next question which comes from Brian. Is the universal these Unitarian church involved in your efforts?

If so, what contributions have they offered? If not, should they be involved? – If the effort is related to Religions for Peace, that Brian means, then my understanding is that the Unitarian Universalists were actually some of the founders of Religions for Peace 50 years ago. So there’s been a long history

Of commitment to this multi-religious space, which is for definition of what the Unitarian universal’s philosophy if you will is very much about. It’s coming together across differences and working together. So yes, the answer very simply is yes, and they are, they have, they are committing, contributing to the convening of different religions together,

The upholding of the human rights agenda, the realization of collaboration towards the sustainable development goals, peace and security, the whole demotion. – The next question comes from Dr. Yosef Berlin who asks, or who says UNESCO has a long history now of the many agencies of the United Nations. UNESCO has a long history

Of engagement with religious communities, religious actors in a scholar sovereign region, in countless seminars, conferences, reports, and programs in a deliberate and strategic way, at least since the late 1980s, focusing on culture, education and inter-religious dialogue. How would the speakers and I will ask you this team of speaker in singular,

See UNESCO’s contribution over the past 30 years to the discourse in the UN system? After you answer, I will give you guys a few footnotes on UNESCO of religion and gender. – When we set up the inter-agency task force, the United Nations inter-agency task force,

UNESCO was one of the early to join members of that task force. Their work has been singular in its outreach, particularly within the academic spaces. They have done some remarkable work bringing together some of the best brains in the system. That’s why Professor Joseph Lula and Professor Casanova

Are amongst those different distinguished chains of leaders who have been engaging, advising, working in that space within UNESCO’s academic hemisphere. There has been an inter-religious dialogue on specific issues that UNESCO has stewarded over the years. And I think that it’s been very important that there’s been this space in the UN system.

And I think that there’s more that can be done, quite frankly and I do believe that there’s a tremendous need to bridge the service providers in the inter-religious spaces with the academics, the theologians, the brains of the inter-religious and intercultural space. I think there’s a lot of work to be done

In terms of bridging those together, and it’s a little bit like bridging the UNESCO heritage in this space with the heritage of say, UNDP, UNHCR, UNH and the other operational agencies that are in different countries. So there is still work to be done in that bridging of those inside the UN system,

But we’ve come a very long way and I think UNESCO has established particularly around cultural heritage and religious sites established quite an impressive legacy. – If I may add a footnote some years ago, probably around eight years ago. UNESCO organized a very, very large project on public religions around the world

Taking basically the framework from my analysis by recognizing and pointing out that the issue of gender had not been really, really central to my analysis. And so what happens when you bring gender into the discussion of public regions? And for this task, basically female scholars from all over the world,

Catholic countries like Poland, India, Muslim countries, like I believe it was Turkey and Indonesia and so on precisely spend some time to bring up the issue, how gender basically makes it even more complex. The question of public religious in the mother world which I had incorporated.

And so I think that in this respect, UNESCO has done much in also serving as a place where different voices of scholars but also activist practitioners and I would say women leaders enter into these debates and conversations. The next question will come from Tatiana Barrett

And she asks Professor Karam on what she thinks about the role of youth from religious communities in promoting human rights, building peace, et cetera. Would she have any good examples to share, please? – Thank you. That’s a very good question. The reason I’m laughing

Is not because it’s a great question, but I’m laughing ’cause I don’t know where to start with the brilliant examples to share. Let me just give the thing that’s top most on my mind, but there are so many examples. So Religions for Peace has the oldest, most diverse, most proliferating interfaith youth network

Amongst all the different sort of inter-religious groups and communities and organizations. And one of the things that just happened recently, totally. First of all, it’s spontaneity of service and working together is definitely a hallmark of youth when they come together across the faith traditions. They come up with the most amazing, innovative ideas.

So as soon as COVID hit, the African Youth Network, Religions for Peace’s African interfaith youth network came up with idea that they needed to work with the women of faith, African women of faith youth network which is the other massive global network that Religions for Peace is extraordinarily privileged to serve.

And they said, the youth said, we need to give y’all training on social media. How to use social media. And they did they did. They organized it all together in COVID. I don’t know how they managed to do it, but they managed to organize for an entire regional,

Women of faith network, not in consequential and not a small network. And they came together as the young leaders in their own spaces and trained the women of faith on using social media. And the next thing we knew, we were getting tweets and Facebook posts and LinkedIn with all these women of faith

Speaking to their work and publicizing the work that they were doing collaboratively. And they now have a social media presence, which was phenomenal if you think about it because it took the young folks to train them in doing that with obvious results. So there are many examples. What I mentioned before

The multi-religious humanitarian fund, that Religions for Peace sets up and invited all the different religious actors to try to contribute to in kind or with the most minimal of resources, but to be deliberate about supporting communities to come together, to serve together in this pandemic context.

And we realized that so many of the applicants were actually youth networks who were coming up with the most amazing ideas and projects ’cause they were as busy in the information sharing, the awareness raising, the service delivery of actually packages of food and medicines and spending time with the elderly people,

People with disabilities to look after them during this time where everybody was just hiding in their own space, et cetera, et cetera. They were doing amazing work. They’re the ones who work asking for contributions to do more in this space to serve their communities.

There are so many examples I would invite you to share, to visit our website. I would also invite you to visit the website of the parliament of world religions, the United Religions Initiative, because some tremendous work is happening at so many different levels around the world with youth

Because of youth and thanks to the youth. When the UN secretary general issue to call for a global cease fire, Jose, you may remember that basically saying it’s a pandemic. We have a bigger, a bigger enemy to be confronting than one another. The Interfaith Youth Network of Religions for Peace

Came together and put their own video where each of them from different parts of the world, different religions were echoing that call and calling upon their own communities, their own in some cases in conflict ridden society saying, yes, this is the call that has to be headed. We must heed this call.

So they were expressing their own political will as young people of faith to support the leadership of the so-called multilateral world and saying, yes, this is time. This is what we must do. Please let’s do that. So yes, many, many examples. – The next questions, related one comes from Alejandro Williams Becker

From Argentina, who says, thank you, Professor Casanova and Professor Karam. I am a KICE fellow and I am working on proposals to take the G-20 interfaith summit to advance commitments for partnerships involving villages and multi faith organizations towards the achievement of the SDGs. So do you have any particular recommendations in this matter?

– It’s a great initiative. I’m extremely proud that the KEISI the international center for dialogue is doing this work on the G-20 interfaith summit with the leadership of very experienced colleagues like Professor Catherine Marshall and also Professor Cole Durham. So I think it’s a wonderful collaboration.

Yes, I do have a couple of recommendations. I think the key point here is how collaborative can this space be? What are the gaps in collaboration between different inter religious organizations? There are some very serious gaps in collaborations. There are also some wonderful examples of collaboration between different inter-religious efforts.

I think the multi-religious NGO world is just as riddled with challenges as the secular NGO world. And collaboration is not necessarily one of the strengths, but so how do we learn from the positive examples of collaboration between different inter-religious organizations and more critically, how can we enhance the collaboration

Between the multi-religious and the secular civic actors? I think that has to be a very key recommendation. I would also say that what’s absolutely important for this particular initiative is that it law dates and upholds and insists on the need for support to the multilateral world.

I’m all for the G-20 or the G7 or the G8 whatever they’re called these days. I’m all for it, but I’m also even more for the United nations and multilateral system. And I think it’s very, very important that these actors, whether it’s the world economic forum or the G8 or G7

Or whether it’s the G20, I think it’s very important that there’s a deliberate effort to highlight and to support and to uphold the role of the multilateral entity that is Supreme in our date and time, now, that is celebrating its 75th. Now is the time to uplift and to support this organization,

Not to go off in different sub branches to do their own respective areas of work and engagement. This is the time to come together. G20, G7, G8, G10, G whatever, to come together and support the United Nations system, unequivocally, including pooling the resources at their disposal

To serve that which is to serve us all. – The next question comes from John Borrelli from Georgetown University, who of course has been working on inter-religious dialogue for decades. And he asked, Religions for Peace has had to maintain a careful balance. On the one hand for the good reasons you have given,

It can bring to bear religious and moral commitments of religious bodies, churches, and religion, and current issues facing all of us. And on the other hand, Religions for Peace needs to maintain the confidence of religious leaders to exercise that important function of convening such these peace religious groups. How can Religion for Peace

Become more effective in what it does? Do you see any measure changes in strategies? – That’s a beautiful question. And first of all, many warm greetings to John Borelli, who’s one of the original architects of the Religions for Peace structure, infrastructure hierarchy coming together. The nuances of the conversations and the actions.

So yes, very happy to get this question. There is a very short answer to the question about, is there any change in strategies? I’m here today. I’ve been elected to be here. For the last 27 years, we had some amazing leadership within the Religions for Peace movement and system.

Clearly there is a change in that leadership for a consolidation of the best of what Religions for Peace has already done. And I think just being able to give me a chance to show that there is this already a massive change in that appreciation and in that space of leadership shouldn’t be underestimated.

I would say one of the first things that Religions for Peace today is much more committed to doing thanks to convening 250 of the religious leaders around the world in December for a strategic planning exercise, which had never happened before that you convene 250 religious leaders and plan strategically.

What you’re gonna work together, have a strategic plan with 250 illiterates institutions? They did it, they did it, and they came up with some very clear strategic priorities in full alignment with the sustainable development goals agenda, same language, same issues, similar priorities, and the same indicators for this work.

This was done by the religious leaders. This wasn’t done by some of us. This was done by the legislators. They came together to strategically plan and commit to working together with total alignment with an international agenda of 193 governments. Two that actually identified very clearly, gender equality as they are concern,

As something they’re committing themselves to and committing to actions in that space. So, yeah, I think there’s been quite a change in this movement. And it’s manifesting in the way that these religious leaders are working together. I don’t speak for myself. I’m speaking for the service

And in the name of the service to these religious leaders. So what you’re hearing, what you’re seeing and what you will see in terms of more partnerships, more engagement around very difficult issues is the commitment that religious leaders themselves are making and working towards and realizing.

– The next question comes from Samuel Bachner and brings us to the issue of theological dialogue and the role it plays or may play in multi religious collaborations, since I tended to somehow minimize the role of theological dialogue, but obviously there is some room for it.

So what will be the role of theological dialogue in multi religious collaboration? – It’s absolutely foundational. The reason that Religions for Peace and other institutions today that are inter religious in nature are able to realize so much collaborative efforts at so many different levels on so many different issues.

The reason is that this is the fruit of decades of theological engagement and discussion and conversation. There is a continuity that often we miss, but it is very much present. You cannot build it today on what you have not put together the tools and the materials with yesterday. Theological conversation is quintessential

To the relational aspect of that we’re saying today, we’re maintaining today. We’re proving by the very virtue of existence of multi religious collaborative initiatives that we need, that we are building on that relational dynamic, and the relational dynamic comes thanks to in large measure, not just a global pandemic

That forces everybody to work together, but thanks to the fact that we have developed a common narrative of commitment, of service that is built upon the theological foundations. Samuel has been leading, co-leading an incredible initiative with Muslims and Christians for many years, which I’ve had the incredible privilege of being part of

Just for a couple of times. And I have seen, and I have witnessed what it means to actually look at what God said in our respective texts, and then try to unpack it together and understand the deeper. I come out from these conversations with my Muslim,

My Christian and my Hindu and Jewish and so on, theological conversations, I come out feeling like I’m a better believer. I’m a more, slightly wiser believer in my own faith that is so integrally committed to the other, and part of all the other faith traditions. Theological encounter is the basis

Of an inter relational building that we need in turn to be able to work multi-religiously. – We are coming to the end of our session and we have three related questions dealing with religion and geopolitics. So I’m going to present all three of them and you can answer somehow

In any way you think it’s possible. From Flabio Conrado comes the question in different regions of the world, extremist governments are being elected, raising concerns about the human rights agenda in a spaces like a United Nations. This week, we showed the UN general assembly president spreading polarization and extremism using religious discourse.

How are Religions for Peace dealing with these kinds of discourse when it comes from readers who speak with religious rhetoric? The next question comes from AW and says, what are the mental multi-religious impacts of the United States from withdrawing from the UN human rights UNESCO sections

We could that from the World Health Organization? Do you think the scanning will be changed with any of us political administration if the current U S administration their policies remain the same? How can we as individuals and the society make sense to improve and enhance multi-religious impacts. Finally, from Mahamirsa,

Would you say that the global system is a structure to bring about the greater good, or to provide legitimacy through institutions for their own interests while giving the appearance of doing good wherever possible in part through the instrumentalization of religions? Can religions lead us into a better world?

Can they actually lead or do they mainly just follow, helping us manage crisis created by war order primarily secular? So on these three questions, I’m going to let you have the last word in whichever way you want to respond to that. – Gee, thank you. Those are extremely extensive questions

And I’m very grateful for them and then many warm greetings to Mahan and the others who raised these questions. There was no question to me that’s participation and engagement are a scenic one on of any transition, transformation that we need in our global community today. To exit the space under any excuse,

To exit from the opportunity and the challenge presented by actively engaging and working together to exit this space and to assume that you can do it on your own, that you don’t need that the rest of the world to work with you, that in and of itself is very, that is the problem.

That is actually the heart of the problem of what we’re confronting today. We are extraordinarily interdependent and interrelated as a planet. We cannot afford to go it alone. No nation, no community, no religion, no one can afford to go it alone anymore. I’m really sorry.

I don’t know when it was possible to go it alone, but now, especially, and the pandemic teaches us, pandemic 101, we are all connected, equally vulnerable, equally strong if we stay connected. So the idea that any government should withdraw from any particular multilateral space to me is the beginning of unraveling,

Not only that own governance and society structure, but it is unraveling of our interconnectivity. It is posing a serious challenge to the fact that our planet demands we work together and we work as one. So to me, that’s just, there’s no even question about that. Is that harmful? Yes, it’s absolutely harmful.

What do we do about it? And this brings me to the issue of the extremist. And by the way, extremist discourse that is espoused and subtly or implicitly or explicitly by certain governments and or regimes, the fact that this is happening more today is part and parcel of the phenomenon

Of certain government society that they don’t need to be part of this space. They can do it better on their own. That is the same phenomenon by the way. And I think that the issue here is we can lament, we can belabor, we can get very upset or we can actually demonstrate

How it is that working together collaboratively, how that actually does change, how that actually does contribute, how that actually does heal. And I think those, the emphasis on that, on showing that, on seeing it happen because it’s happening, it’s happening all the time. We are alive here today by virtue of the fact

That people work together. We are alive here today by virtue of the fact that people serve institutions serve together. We wouldn’t be here on this Zoom call if we didn’t have that absolute reality. So the idea that we could potentially show, highlight, more, magnify, and that’s one of the reasons

That’s one of my big things with media is when we were in the World Humanitarian Summit, all the faith-based organizations came together and came up with an agreed ethos on serving human rights and upholding international humanitarian law and serving together in humanitarian crisis all over the world.

Nothing emerged from that in the media. Nobody even knew this happened. And I will wager you that if somebody had walked in and exploded themselves, that would have made major news in that space. One loaner in the name of one warped understanding of religion, would have received tremendous media attention.

All the faith communities in that one space coming together and committing to a charter on humanitarian service and collaborations together, no news. I think we have a role to play in being deliberate about seeing that which is working, that which is the collaborative potential of our work. It’s absolutely necessary.

We have to do it. There’s no question about it. And with all due the respect, Mahan, I think the answer is in your question. Your question has the answer to it. Yes, religions institutions can be extraordinarily narrow-minded in their self interest, but we can’t survive without them

Because we’re too many to relate one on one with one another all the time. We need mechanisms to do so. Right now, institutions of various hues are mechanisms. It is up to us to make sure that those institutions are held accountable and responsive. There’s no question that the multilateral order

Requires the government systems. The government systems require the institutions of civil society there to function. That is the order of things. It will never be good. There will be rot here. There will be horrible stuff there, but there’s also a legacy of being able to work together, better.

– Well, the bell has rung. We are past our time, and I thank you very, very much for these wonderful conversation. And I thank you, especially for all your insights, for your courage, for your leadership and commitment to work together for everything that is important for global humanity, especially in leading

These global, religious, secular dialogue. Thank you everybody for participating in our conversation. As we pointed out in a few days, the conversation will be on YouTube at the Berkeley Center website, and you will receive soon notices of the next dialogue. It will be with Peter Vanderveer

From the Max Planck Institute in getting in mid October. We will let you know. Thank you so much and hope to see you next month.

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